I went on a trip to Victoria, BC with my closest friends the past two days, and we had a blast seeing the city. We had high tea at the St. James Bay Inn; we went to Russell Books and got lost looking at all the used books; we got lots of Maple Cookies; we went to Craigdarroch Castle; and we got to tour the Parliament Building, which is a bit of a misnomer since it houses the BC Legislature and not the Parliament.
It was fascinating to tour a government building of a different country. The Canadian parliamentary system is similar to our own, and yet quite different. The division between the majority party and the Opposition is a lot clearer: they sit on opposite sides of the room, like way opposite, so they can shout at each other or jeer during one another's speeches - which they did.
I didn't realize that there is no separation of executive and legislative powers in the Canadian system. The Premier of BC is simply the leader of the majority party, and is a member of the Parliament itself.
I just barely missed seeing the opening of the current session, which started with a 15-gun salute and the reading of the Speech from the Throne. It occurred 45 minutes before we pulled into the harbor.
I can't wait for my next trip to Victoria. But more than that, I have even more desire to go to Washington, DC. I've never gotten to go, and I desperately want to.